Everybody wonders at least once, what would happen if they died. I would probably be concerned about who would get my extensive library. But the world would move on. And Wangui the Pedestrian would become a distant memory only uttered when an anecdote called for it. That’s why I am hoping that when the sun sets on me and an unknown eternity beckons, I would be immortalized.
Obviously, this blog could help with that but I often foresee that in the event of a dystopian Kenya, the internet wouldn’t work anymore and the people who made it would be locked up by some tyrant to make sure they don’t bring it up again and derail their efforts for world domination.
I could paint but unlike Picasso’s abstracts such as The Weeping Woman or one of Goya’s Black Paintings like Saturn Devouring His Son that leave an impression forever, my paintings come out like those of an epileptic who fell in a vat of paint then proceeded to have a grand mal seizure on a canvas. They don’t even count as art.
I could do political greatness and have a statue erected in my honor but I am afraid that the parts would be stolen like flamingoes on the Tom Mboya statue. The more statuesque and secure areas of CBD are a little too out of my reach. Unless I died as a serving president. In which case, I would want as many flags as Kenyatta’s burial ground.
Regardless, I may have found a way to become immortalized in my city. It’s simple, cost effective and would probably have me mentioned more times than a lover’s name during the moment of crisis. I could have a road named after me. That’s right. My signature would be put down on tarmac. Iconic tarmac.
Look at all the people who have roads named after them in Nairobi. Obviously a large percentage of the population probably doesn’t know or forgot their Class 4 GHC lessons but I will re-educate. Simply to pave way for my immortality. I figure if people know those icons’ roads, when I have a sign with my name on it, Nairobians and non-Nairobians alike will want to find out who got the road.
You have people like Argwings Kodhek. He was the first Kenyan to set up a legal practice in the country. He was minister for foreign affairs. He died in a car crash on Hurlingham Road which was later renamed after him to Argwings Kodhek Rd. Then there is James Gichuru. He was a politician who served as MP for Limuru and minister for Finance and Defence; and as KANU chairman while Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was in prison.
Towards the west lies Waiyaki Way. It is named after Waiyaki wa Hinga who was an Agikuyu nation anti-colonialist leader and chief of Dagoretti. He was tortured after signing a treaty with some colonial bigwig called Lugard. Subsequently he burnt down Lugard’s fort. He was captured two years later, and killed then buried upside down in Kibwezi’s vicinity.
Within CBD we have Kenyatta Avenue named after Kenya’s first president. Moi Avenue, named after Kenya’s second president. Mama Ngina Street, named after Kenya’s first First Lady. Mokhtar Daddah Street named after Mauritania’s president in 1960. Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania has a road named after him off State House Road. Haile Selassie Avenue named after Haile Selassie who was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930-1974.
Kimathi Street is named after Dedan Kimathi who was a leader of the Mau Mau which was a group that led an armed struggle against the colonists. Tom Mboya Street, named after Tom Mboya who was a freedom fighter and considered one of our founding fathers. We have Ronald Ngala Street which is named after Ronald Ngala who was a political leader- chairman of KADU, a member of the legislative council and Minister of Cooperatives and Social Services.
We have roads named after nobel laureates like Wangari Mathai Rd, who had Limuru Rd renamed after her. Ralph Bunche Rd is named after Ralph Bunche who was the first black man to win a Nobel Peace Prize. There’s also Luthuli Avenue named after Albert Luthuli who I call the other Mandela. He was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
There are lots more roads named after present and historical figures but at this juncture I have come to the realization that short of becoming a president, a freedom fighter, a pioneering politician or a Nobel laureate, I have no hopes of getting a road named after me. I’ll just leave this right here for those who have such anticipations. And for all the great people who deserve them.